NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 1, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 1, 2022

Jonathan Huberdeau sets a league record in Jonathan Toews’ 1,000th game, Auston Matthews is the first player this season to score 50 goals, potential investors are circling the Senators in the wake of Eugene Melnyk’s death, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Jonathan Huberdeau set a single-season assist record for left wingers (71) as his Florida Panthers blanked the Chicago Blackhawks 4-0, spoiling the 1,000th career NHL game of Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews. Sergei Bobrovsky made 37 saves for the shutout while Aleksander Barkov scored twice. With 98 points, the Panthers are tied with the Carolina Hurricanes but sit in first place in the Eastern Conference with a game in hand.

Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Huberdeau really doesn’t get the attention he deserves for his playmaking skills. He’s fourth overall in total assists (271) since 2017-18, four behind the Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane and nine behind the New York Rangers’ Artemi Panarin. Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid is the overall leader during that period with 340.

Toews would’ve reached the 1,000 game mark much sooner had he not missed all of last season to illness. It’s been a difficult campaign for the Blackhawks captain, with 29 points in 57 games.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews became the first player to reach the 50-goal plateau this season in a 7-3 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. William Nylander scored twice while Mitch Marner and Ilya Mikheyev each collected three points as the Leafs (91 points) move one point ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning into second place in the Atlantic Division. With 76 points, the Jets are three points behind the Dallas Stars for the final Western Conference wild-card berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews is the fourth player in Leafs history to score 50 goals in a season, joining Rick Vaive, Gary Leeman and Dave Andreychuk. With 15 games remaining in the season, he’s poised to overtake Vaive for the Leafs’ single-season record (54) and has a realistic shot of becoming the first NHL player to reach the 60-goal mark since Lightning captain Steven Stamkos did it in 2011-12.

Third-period goals by Mikko Rantanen and Andre Burakovsky lifted the Colorado Avalanche over the San Jose Sharks 4-2. Nazem Kadri and Erik Johnson each had two assists for Colorado while teammate Nathan MacKinnon returned to the lineup after missing one game with an injured hand. With 102 points, the Avs hold a four-point lead over the Panthers and Hurricanes atop the overall standings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was originally reported that MacKinnon suffered a fractured bone in his hand following a recent fight with Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba. While he was declared “good to go” by the Avalanche, it’ll be interesting to see if that injury has any effect on his performance.

Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen made 32 saves to shut out the Montreal Canadiens 4-0. Andrei Svechnikov tallied twice while Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen each had a goal and an assist. Canadiens netminder Jake Allen stopped 40 shots in a losing cause.

Jamie Benn’s overtime goal gave the Dallas Stars a 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks, extending the latter’s winless streak to 11 games. Jake Oettinger kicked out 21 shots for the win as the Stars (79 points) hold a one-point lead over the Vegas Golden Knights for the final Western wild-card spot.

A shootout goal by Lias Andersson lifted the Los Angeles Kings to a 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames. Viktor Arvidsson tied the game with 4:22 remaining in the third period while Cal Petersen picked up the win with a 26-save effort. Jacob Markstrom stopped 30 shots for the Flames, who hold a five-point lead over the Kings for first place in the Pacific Division with 89 points.

Evgeni Malkin’s overtime goal lifted the Pittsburgh Penguins past the Minnesota Wild 4-3, ending the latter’s seven-game winning streak. Rickard Rakell scored two goals for the Penguins (92 points), who sit one point behind the second-place New York Rangers in the Metropolitan Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jason Zucker’s return to the Penguins lineup after missing the last 30 games to core-muscle surgery didn’t last long. He was helped from the ice in the second period after suffering what looked like a serious leg injury from crashing awkwardly into the boards. No update was provided on his status.

A six-goal second period powered the Boston Bruins to an 8-1 romp over the New Jersey Devils. Brad Marchand tallied twice while Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak each collected three points as the Bruins (89 points) hold a five-point lead over the Washington Capitals for the first Eastern Conference wild-card berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins honored recently-retired goalie Tuukka Rask in a ceremonial pre-game puck drop.

The New York Islanders defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2. Semyon Varlamov made 30 saves while Mathew Barzal had a goal and an assist for the Isles.

HEADLINES

OTTAWA SUN/THE ATHLETIC: Michael Traikos and Ian Mendes report that potential investors are already looking into purchasing the Senators only days after owner Eugene Melnyk passed away on Monday. Ownership of the team is expected to pass to Melnyk’s college-age daughters Anne and Olivia. Mendes confirmed there are “multiple groups” who’ve expressed interest in purchasing the Senators with the plan of keeping them in the Ottawa market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Melnyk isn’t even in the ground yet and already the vultures are circling hoping to pick up the Senators. One would think they’d at least allow his family time to grieve before making inquiries about buying the franchise. That’s the cold-blooded business world for you.

Nothing will happen until after Melnyk’s estate has been settled, which could take weeks. That’s when we’ll learn if his daughters will retain or sell the franchise. Based on the reports by Traikos and Mendes, they won’t lack potential bidders keen on keeping the club in Ottawa.

AZCENTRAL.COM: Arizona Coyotes forward Clayton Keller’s season is over after undergoing surgery for a broken leg suffered during Wednesday’s 5-2 win over the San Jose Sharks. His recovery period is expected to be between four to six months.

TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Petr Mrazek will be sidelined for at least six weeks with a groin injury.

Carolina Hurricanes forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi is expected to miss two weeks with a lower-body injury.

THE ATHLETIC: The Buffalo Sabres will honor long-time broadcaster Rick Jeanneret with a banner prior to tonight’s game against the Nashville Predators. The Hall-of-Fame play-by-play man has covered the Sabres since 1971 and will retire at the end of this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A well-deserved honor for the long-time voice of the Sabres.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 29, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 29, 2022

Senators owner Eugene Melnyk passes away, the Hurricanes take over first place in the Eastern Conference, Vladimir Tarasenko reaches a scoring milestone, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

SENATORS OWNER EUGENE MELNYK DEAD AT 62

OTTAWA SUN: Senators owner Eugene Melnyk passed away late Monday following a long illness. His enduring legacy was buying the Senators in 2003 and maintaining the franchise in Ottawa. In 2015, Melnyk underwent a life-saving liver transplant. With his help, the Senators Community Foundation invested over $100 million in local charities and community programs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Melnyk’s family and the Senators’ organization. The hockey world is mourning his passing, with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and Senators captain Brady Tkachuk among the first to pay tribute.

Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk dies at age 62 (NHL.com).

The Senators were among the NHL’s top teams during Melnyk’s early years of ownership, reaching the 2007 Stanley Cup Final. After exceeding expectations to reach the 2017 Eastern Conference Final, the club spent the following years rebuilding its roster.

Melnyk often faced criticism from Senators fans over the club’s direction, especially in recent years. He received his share of the blame for the departures of popular stars such as Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and Erik Karlsson. The outspoken Senators owner also threatened to move the club several years ago if the club’s attendance didn’t improve.

Nevertheless, the Senators would’ve probably relocated to an American city in 2003 if Melnyk hadn’t stepped in to purchase the franchise. It’ll be up to his successor and the club’s current management to ensure the current rebuilding program achieves his dream of turning the Senators into a Stanley Cup contender.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Washington Capitals 6-1 to take over first place in the Eastern Conference with 95 points, one ahead of the Florida Panthers. Martin Necas scored two goals and added an assist while Frederik Andersen made 25 saves for the win. The Capitals (84 points) remain three points behind the Boston Bruins, who hold the first Eastern wild-card spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes weren’t happy over a hit on forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi by Capitals center Lars Eller late in the game. Kotkaniemi’s left leg appeared to be injured. Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour didn’t know the extent of the injury following the game but commented it didn’t look good. No word if Eller will face supplemental discipline.

St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko reached his 500th career point in a 4-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Tarasenko scored twice and chipped in an assist while Ville Husso turned in a 35-save performance. With 81 points, the Blues sit in third place in the Central Division. The Canucks (73 points) remain three points behind the Vegas Golden Knights for the final Western Conference wild-card berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: David Perron also reached a Blues milestone, joining Brett Hull and Scott Young as the third player in franchise history to score at least 12 goals in a calendar month.

The Edmonton Oilers bounced back from a 9-5 loss to the Calgary Flames on Saturday by thumping the Arizona Coyotes 6-1. Ryan McLeod tallied twice and picked up an assist, Leon Draisaitl had a goal and an assist and Mikko Koskinen got the win by kicking out 31 shots. The Oilers sit in third place in the Pacific Division, two points back of the second-place Los Angeles Kings.

Speaking of the Kings, they fell 6-1 to the Seattle Kraken. Chris Driedger stopped 36 Kings shots while teammate Vince Dunn collected two assists. It was the 1,000th career NHL game for Kings coach Todd McLellan, who became the seventh active coach to reach that milestone.

The Buffalo Sabres rallied from a 4-0 deficit to defeat the Chicago Blackhawks 6-5 with Tage Thompson netting the game-winner in the final seconds of the third period. Sabres winger Victor Olofsson scored twice and picked up an assist.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NHL.COM: Minnesota Wild goaltender Cam Talbot, Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau and Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending March 27, 2022.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman upheld a one-game suspension to Hurricanes winger Nino Niederreiter for a slashing infraction on March 18.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury suffered from a high hit by the Minnesota Wild’s Marcus Foligno during the Jackets’ 3-2 loss to the Wild on Saturday.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: San Jose Sharks captain Logan Couture suffered a bruised lung when he was struck by a shot by teammate Brent Burns during last Thursday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers. He missed Saturday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks but will return to the lineup on Wednesday to face the Arizona Coyotes.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Over a week after being traded from the Montreal Canadiens to the Colorado Avalanche, Artturi Lehkonen’s immigration paperwork has been processed and he can finally join his new teammates.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 13, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 13, 2022

Recaps of Saturday’s action, Hurricanes close to re-signing Kotkaniemi, Avs re-sign Francouz, Landeskog and Chychrun injured, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Artemi Panarin had a goal and four assists to lead the New York Rangers to a 7-4 victory over the Dallas Stars. Dryden Hunt also collected three assists while Ryan Strome and K’Andre Miller each had two points for the Rangers (79 points), who moved ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins into second place in the Metropolitan Division. John Klingberg, Esa Lindell and Roope Hintz each had two points for the Stars (67 points), who sit one point behind the Vegas Golden Knights for the final Western Conference wild-card berth.

New York Rangers left wing Artemi Panarin (NHL Images).

The Carolina Hurricanes took over first place in the overall standings by downing the Philadelphia Flyers 3-1, extending their home points streak to 13 games. Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen made 28 saves while Jordan Martinook and Sebastian Aho scored unanswered goals in the third period. The Hurricanes and Colorado Avalanche each have 87 points but the Canes hold a game in hand.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid scored twice to lead his club over the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1. Mikko Koskinen made 31 saves for the win, Tyson Barrie collected two assists in his return from injured reserve while Josh Archibald was activated off long-term injury reserve for the Oilers (68 points), who moved ahead of the Golden Knights into third place in the Pacific Division. The Lightning (80 points) have dropped three straight and hold a one-point lead over the Toronto Maple Leafs for second place in the Atlantic Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid regained first place in the scoring race with 83 points, one up on Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau and two ahead of teammate Leon Draisaitl.

Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom made 19 saves for his league-leading ninth shutout of the season in a 3-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Elias Lindholm reached the 30-goal plateau for the first time in his career and Matthew Tkachuk collected two assists. With 79 points, the Flames hold a seven-point lead over the Los Angeles Kings for first place in the Pacific Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flames defenseman Oliver Kylington missed this game with a lower-body injury and is listed as day-to-day.

The Kings, meanwhile, were shut out by the San Jose Sharks 5-0. Adin Hill made 29 saves in his first start since Jan. 29 while teammate Timo Meier had a goal and two assists.

St. Louis Blues forward Robert Thomas scored twice and set up two others in a 7-4 victory over the Nashville Predators. The Blues blew a 3-0 lead but recovered on three unanswered third-period goals by Thomas, David Perron and Justin Faulk. Matt Duchene scored twice for the Predators, including his 30th goal of the season. The Blues hold a three-point lead over the Minnesota Wild for second place in the Central Division with 75 points. With 70 points, the Predators hold a two-point lead over the Golden Knights for the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

The Boston Bruins nipped the Arizona Coyotes 3-2 on a late goal by Charlie Coyle. Craig Smith scored twice and Jeremy Swayman made 27 saves as the Bruins (77 points) hold a three-point lead over the Washington Capitals for the first Eastern Conference wild-card spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun left the game in the second period following a collision with a Bruins player. No update was provided but the club is hopeful he’ll be day-to-day. Chychrun has been a fixture in the trade rumor mill for the past couple of months. Coyotes forward Christian Fischer missed the game with an upper-body injury and is considered day-to-day.

Patrick Kane collected three assists while Jonathan Toews and Caleb Jones each scored twice as the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Ottawa Senators 6-3. With 1,156 points, Kane moved in second place among the Blackhawks’ all-time scoring leaders. Blackhawks defenseman Connor Murphy was stretchered from the game after being hit into the boards in the first period. He wasn’t taken to hospital and remained at the arena under the team’s medical supervision. Murphy is traveling back to Chicago with his teammates.

Shootout goals by Tomas Tatar and Jesper Bratt gave the New Jersey Devils a 2-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Devils goalie Nico Daws made 33 saves in regulation and overtime. The loss leaves the Ducks four points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Ducks defenseman Josh Manson returned from injured reserve but forward Sam Steel wound up on IR with a facial injury.

A shootout goal by Marcus Johansson lifted the Seattle Kraken over the Montreal Canadiens 4-3. The Canadiens rallied on third-period goals by Alexander Romanov and Nick Suzuki to force overtime and the shootout. Canadiens defenseman Joel Edmundson made his season debut after being sidelined last summer by a back injury while Kale Clague was placed on injured reserve with an upper-body injury.

HEADLINES

TSN: The Carolina Hurricanes are reportedly close to agreeing to an eight-year contract extension with center Jesperi Kotkaniemi. It’s believed to be worth between $4.25 million and $4.5 million annually. The Hurricanes successfully signed away Kotkaniemi last summer from the Montreal Canadiens with a one-year, $6.1 million offer sheet.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Chris Johnston reports the deal cannot be formally completed until after the March 21 trade deadline because it’s an eight-year extension. Kotkaniemi was never a $6 million player but that was the salary needed to sign him away from the Canadiens. It was widely assumed he’d accept a lesser annual cap-hit on a long-term deal after this season.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog will be sidelined indefinitely by a knee injury. The club hopes to have him back before the start of the playoffs in late April or early May. Defenseman Samuel Girard will miss approximately four weeks with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Landeskog and Girard earn a combined $12 million. If they’re placed on long-term injury reserve it would provide the Avalanche with much-needed salary-cap flexibility to add a player or two before the March 21 trade deadline.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: The Avalanche signed backup goaltender Pavel Francouz to a two-year, $4 million contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It remains to be seen if Darcy Kuemper will also get an extension. The Avs starter is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets captain Boone Jenner is listed as week-to-week with a lower-back injury.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Flyers forward Scott Laughton is sidelined indefinitely after suffering a concussion during Thursday’s game against the Florida Panthers.

TSN: Minnesota Wild winger Marcus Foligno was fined $5,000.00 by the department of player safety for kneeing Blue Jackets winger Jakub Voracek on Friday.










NHL Rumor Mill – March 7, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – March 7, 2022

Will Marc-Andre Fleury accept a trade? Should the Wild acquire Shea Weber’s contract? What’s the latest on the Penguins? Could the Bruins pursue Jakob Chychrun? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WILL FLEURY ACCEPT A TRADE?

TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons reports a source claims Marc-Andre Fleury has told the Chicago Blackhawks he doesn’t want to be moved at the trade deadline. “That basically removes Fleury from the trade deadline, unless of course he changes his mind,” writes Simmons.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES Ben Pope took to Twitter to counter Simmons’ report, saying his understanding is the Fleury situation remains “up in the air.” He doesn’t think the goalie has ruled it out.

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pope added it’s believed Fleury wants to stay in Chicago and could even re-sign with the Blackhawks if he doesn’t retire. Still, he believes a Fleury trade remains possible. Stay tuned…

SHOULD THE WILD ACQUIRE WEBER’S CONTRACT?

THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo suggested the Minnesota Wild consider acquiring the contract of sidelined Montreal Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber after noting Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported the Canadiens are willing to trade that contract.

Assuming Weber’s playing career is over, his $7.857 million annual salary cap hit through 2025-26 could provide the Wild a way out of salary-cap hell for the next three seasons after they bought out Zach Parise and Ryan Suter last year. It could free up room to sign Kevin Fiala to a contract extension or delve into this summer’s free-agent market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An interesting suggestion. It remains to be seen if Wild general manager Bill Guerin will act on that or if he has other plans to find some much-needed salary-cap space beyond this season.

LATEST PENGUINS SPECULATION

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski noted the Penguins have scouted the Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks over the past week. He believes Penguins GM Ron Hextall won’t “go big” at the March 21 trade deadline but instead seek affordable options for a middle-six winger or blueline depth.

Kingerski wondered if the Penguins could give up a left-hand defenseman (and retain salary) because they’re deep on that side. He noted Toronto winger Nick Robertson has struggled to crack the Maple Leafs lineup.

He also downplayed the “Brock Boeser for Kasperi Kapanen” speculation regarding the Canucks and doesn’t see them parting with J.T. Miller. He wondered instead if Hextall could interest Vancouver hockey ops president (and former Penguins GM) Jim Rutherford in a prospect such as Pierre-Olivier Joseph, Nathan Legare or Samuel Poulin, suggesting Canucks winger Conor Garland or defenseman Travis Hamonic as trade options.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hextall surprised everyone at last year’s trade deadline by acquiring Jeff Carter from the Los Angeles Kings. It was a move that worked out well for the Penguins.

I anticipate Hextall will try to boost his roster at the trade deadline, though it might not be a splash as big as the Carter acquisition. The Penguins have no games scheduled against the Leafs or Canucks so perhaps there’s a deal to be made with one of those clubs.

TIDBITS FROM DAILY FACEOFF’S RECENT “ICEBREAKERS”.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli recently reported the Florida Panthers have no interest in trading goaltender Spencer Knight. It’s believed the Panthers and Arizona Coyotes engaged in discussions regarding Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun around the holidays. The Coyotes wanted Knight as part of the package but that obviously didn’t happen.

Speaking of Chychrun, Seravalli noted the Boston Bruins were also interested in the Coyotes blueliner. He wondered if Bruin goalie Jeremy Swayman could be part of the proposed transaction. The Bruins would then need a backup for Linus Ullmark, prompting Seravalli to suggest perhaps someone like Philadelphia’s Martin Jones might work.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch speculated about the Bruins perhaps packaging winger Jake DeBrusk as part of a deal for Chychrun. However, I think the Coyotes will stay patient on offers for him. With Chychrun signed beyond this season, they can wait until this summer to move him if they don’t get any offers to their liking by March 21. I think the Bruins prefer keeping their goalie tandem intact for the remainder of the season to see how things shake out.

Ottawa Senators forward Nick Paul would draw considerable interest from playoff contenders seeking affordable forward depth. Sources say there’s been little contract between the Senators and Paul on a contract extension.

The Carolina Hurricanes have started contract extension talks with Jesperi Kotkaniemi. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who’s on a one-year. $6.1 million contract. Seravalli wonders if a six- or seven-year deal at a lower annual average value between $4 million and $4.5 million might work for both sides.

The Vancouver Canucks must also soon reach a decision on trading or retaining forward Tyler Motte. He’s slated to become a UFA this summer. Sources said there haven’t yet been substantive contract discussions.










NHL Rumor Mill – February 17, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – February 17, 2022

Check out the latest on the Blackhawks, Rangers and Canucks in today’s NHL rumor mill.

BLACKHAWKS

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Charlie Roumeliotis reports it’s believed the Blackhawks won’t move Marc-Andre Fleury unless he asks to be traded. The 37-year-old goaltender has a 10-team no-trade clause and has surfaced in recent trade rumors, with the latest tying him to his former club, the Vegas Golden Knights. If he does request a trade, they won’t send him somewhere he doesn’t want to go.

Fleury acknowledged if he were to be traded he’d want to play for a Stanley Cup contender. “If…IF…I move, I would love a chance to win,” he said. “That’s what I play for and that’s what I love. It’s still a big if at this point.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: One reason is there are not many Cup contenders seeking an upgrade between the pipes. The Edmonton Oilers and Washington Capitals could use Fleury but they’re not considered among this season’s Cup favorites. There’s also a report the Capitals attempted to acquire him but it’s rumored he rejected the deal. The remainder of his $7 million cap hit for this season is another sticking point. Fleury could end up finishing this season with the Blackhawks.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports sources said Blackhawks interim general manager Kyle Davidson was listening to offers for wingers Alex DeBrincat and Brandon Hagel. He claims there’s considerable interest in Hagel, who is signed through 2023-24 with a $1.5 million annual salary-cap hit. Seravalli suggests Hagel might fetch a first-round pick and a prospect.

THE ATHLETIC: Mark Lazerus reports winger Dominik Kubalik’s struggles this season have him facing an uncertain future with the Blackhawks. The 26-year-old winger is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights but his production is down this season.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Ben Pope acknowledged Seravalli’s report about Hagel but said a source told him the 23-year-old winger is virtually off the table. Fleury and defenseman Calvin de Haan are the Blackhawks’ biggest trade chips. Kubalik and fellow RFA Dylan Strome have been on the market for months despite persuasive arguments for keeping both.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Davidson might be listening but that doesn’t mean he’s moving DeBrincat or Hagel. Both are young enough to be core players on this rebuilding roster. Unless the gambit here is to piss off long-time leaders Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews to the point where they demand a trade in the offseason, it makes little sense to move DeBrincat or Hagel unless the return is significant.

It wouldn’t be surprising if Kubalik and Strome are traded away, though the decline in their respective production means they won’t fetch much of a return for the Blackhawks. Given their arbitration rights, it might not be worth the hassle to keep them.

RANGERS

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the Rangers interest in Vancouver Canucks forward (and former Ranger) J.T. Miller has been “an open secret” for some time. The versatile Miller can skate at center or right wing. He could prove useful to them beyond this season if they’re unable to re-sign pending UFA center Ryan Strome this summer. However, the Blueshirts probably won’t be able to afford an extension for Miller and would have to seek another top-six center in 2023.

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple reports the asking price for Miller could be the classic “draft pick/prospect/player”. He wondered if the Rangers could land him by pitching a first-round pick and promising defenseman Nils Lundkvist.

Staple also commented on a recent report by Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli saying the Vegas Golden Knights may have reached out to the Rangers about Alexandar Georgiev. However, sources say the Blueshirts haven’t received any real offers yet for the 26-year-old goaltender. He’s slated to become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer and is a year away from UFA eligibility. Parting with Georgiev would leave the Rangers seeking an experienced replacement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what moves Rangers GM Chris Drury makes before the March 21 trade deadline. He’s got plenty of deadline cap space and lots of promising young players/prospects to draw upon for trade bait.

Drury is well-positioned to make a solid bid for Miller but would it be with an eye on keeping him beyond next season or as a short-term measure? Will he pass on Miller and consider other options? We’ll find out soon enough.

I’ll be surprised if they move out Georgiev. He’s not a UFA so they can peddle him in the offseason if he doesn’t fit into their plans. He did a good job filling in for starter Igor Shesterkin when he was sidelined for several games earlier this season. Better to stick with the backup you know down the stretch and into the playoffs.

CANUCKS

DAILY FACEOFF/THE ATHLETIC: Scott Burnside and Thomas Drance report Vancouver Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford and general and general manager Patrik Allvin are both preaching patience, stressing there’s no urgency for the club to make moves before the March 21 trade deadline.

Rutherford said the final decision to make trades rests with Allvin, who indicated he wants to evaluate his club’s performance as they continue to fight for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.

CHEK-TV’s Rick Dhaliwal cited Elliotte Friedman noted the Canucks interest in New Jersey Devils forward Pavel Zacha. However, he also said to keep an eye on the Washington Capitals as they need some help up front.

THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance and Harman Dayal listed Zacha, Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk, Pittsburgh Penguins winger Kasperi Kapanen, Carolina Hurricanes’ forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Toronto Maple Leafs’ defenseman Travis Dermott among several players between 20 and 25 years old that they speculate could be on the Canucks trade radar.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks’ new front office still has five weeks before the trade deadline to evaluate their players and determine who to move and who to keep if they decide to become sellers by March 21. It appears they’re going to give this roster a chance to gain some ground in the standings and see if they have a shot at securing a playoff berth. If they fall out of contention, they could start shipping out some players.

The interest in bringing in younger players indicates they’re looking at a quick turnaround rather than a lengthy rebuild. Shopping Miller could help them land such a player. Whether it would be any of those listed above remains to be seen.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 21, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 21, 2021

The Flyers down the Bruins, the Blues defeat the Golden Knights plus the Jets brace for more COVID-19 cases, an update on the Oilers’ Mike Smith and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Third-period goals by Cam Atkinson, Travis Konecny and Sean Couturier powered the Philadelphia Flyers over the Boston Bruins 6-3. Atkinson scored twice, Couturier and Joel Farabee each had a goal and an assist and Martin Jones made 37 saves for the win. Boston made it interesting by overcoming a 3-1 deficit to tie the game in the second period on goals by Taylor Hall and Brad Marchand. Bruins forward Nick Foligno left the game in the second period with a lower-body injury.

Philadelphia Flyers winger Cam Atkinson (NHL Images).

Jordan Binnington made 42 saves and Vladimir Tarasenko tallied the go-ahead goal to give the St. Louis Blues a 3-1 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights. Brandon Saad and Ivan Barbashev also tallied for the Blues while William Karlsson scored Vegas’ only goal.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets are reportedly bracing for more positive COVID-19 tests after captain Blake Wheeler tested positive and went into self-isolation on Tuesday. The club didn’t comment on the report but is expected to provide an update on Thursday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli broke this story. He followed up on Twitter saying some tests that were initially positive have since been confirmed negative. Seravalli said it’s possible most of the roster will be cleared to play tonight against the Anaheim Ducks but the Jets are awaiting clarity on this changing situation.

TSN: Speaking of the Jets, they assigned prospect forward Cole Perfetti to the AHL’s Manitoba Moose.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers goaltender Mike Smith has been placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. He’ll be sidelined for at least one week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers’ playoff hopes rest on a healthy Smith unless backup Mikko Koskinen can step up in his absence, something he’s had difficulty doing in the past.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi is looking forward to facing the Canadiens in Montreal tonight. It will be his first game against his former team since signing a one-year, $6.1 million offer sheet in August. Kotkaniemi said he has no hard feelings and nothing but “real good memories” of his time with the Habs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given how poorly the Canadiens have started the season, Kotkaniemi could rub more salt in the wound by scoring during a Hurricanes victory tonight.

TSN: Speaking of the Canadiens, defenseman Joel Edmundson has taken a leave of absence to be with his father, who’s suffering from cancer. Edmundson has been sidelined thus far by an undisclosed injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Edmundson’s absence is part of the reason the Canadiens are 0-4-0 to start this season. He was a strong physical presence on their blueline last season, especially in the playoffs. Factor in the absence of starting goalie Carey Price (NHL player assistance program)and team captain Shea Weber (injuries) plus the departure of two-way center Phillip Danault (free agency) and it’s unsurprising the Canadiens look terrible thus far.

TSN: Florida Panthers forward Joe Thornton was fined $1,875.00 for slashing Tampa Bay Lightning forward Boris Katchouk on Tuesday.

Calgary Flames placed forward Glenn Gawdin on waivers yesterday.

Former NHL forward Artem Anisimov signed a one-year contract with KHL club Lokomotiv Yaroslavl.